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Question of the Day IV


Question of the Day IV

Is it INTJ or INTP?

Mark & Carol The Editors, October 4, 2011

Hannah Höch, The Life and Work of the German Dada ArtistSometimes the MBTI code’s judging/perceiving (J/P) dichotomy is extremely difficult to nail down—showing a low preference clarity on the report and proving elusive to verify. INTJ vs. INTP seems especially problematic.

Why is J/P so difficult? Do you have any tips for verification?

Editors’ Note This question came up a couple of times recently; and though we have some thoughts about the issue (see below), we both sometimes still struggle with helping clients crack the J/P dimension of their code. We would love to hear more ideas, theories, and tips from readers.

Shumate, ENFP

Sometimes an INTJ may resemble an INTP or vice versa because the individual’s Critical Parent function (6th) has “hijacked” the Good Parent function (2nd or auxiliary), to use Bob McAlpine’s phrase. I have noticed that my own Critical Parent (Witch/Senex) archetype can be very loud, and this may enable it to drown out the auxiliary; at least this is my understanding of John Beebe‘s model (but he has not vetted this statement). I believe this can happen to any personality type when stressed.

When this happens to an INTJ, his auxiliary extraverted thinking (Te) Good Parent might be suppressed by his introverted thinking (Ti) Critical Parent. Then it may look as if he is using both Ni and Ti and so one might think he’s an INTP because the Ti Critical Parent seems so prominent. Ti in any position is a kind of hair-splitting function, defining and refining for ever more precision, and when it falls in the 6th position can express as harsh criticism. In this case, the INTJ can appear exasperatingly nit-picky.

INTJ-INTPSimilarly, for an INTP, if the Critical Parent archetype suppresses her auxiliary Good Parent function (Ne), her Ni (6th) might overpower her Ne (2nd), and she may appear to be using both Ti and Ni. Ni is the ‘knowing’ function, the process that intuits the answer without having data for it, and when it appears in the Critical Parent position, it could make the INTP seem arrogantly obstinate about her position.

How can we help validate a person’s type if this confusion occurs during the feedback process or on the Indicator? One way that I use is to ask the person about early childhood messages from authority. What was he criticized for? What did her parents or teachers lay down the law about? What does he or she criticize self and others for? If the answer is, “I criticize myself for not knowing enough,” or “I criticize others their failure to see the future,” that sounds like introverted intuition in the Critical Parent position, so it’s a clue that INTP maybe be the best fit. If the answer is, “I criticize others for not being precise enough,” or “I criticize others for not finishing their homework, not having fully considered the subject,” that suggests a Ti Critical Parent and therefore an INTJ type code.

This does not mean that we are doomed to use our Critical Parent function (opposite attitude to our auxiliary) in a negative way. In fact, as I understand it, we can try to use our mental processes in a way that, according to Bob McAlpine, “might allow us to manage the emotional charge.” It does appear that we all start out life with a tendency to use the 6th function defensively, and often with a negative charge.

Hunziker, INTJ

A primary characteristic of the unconscious is that it comes across as a confusing jumble—like different voices singing different songs simultaneously, each indistinguishable from the others. In terms of psychological type, personal growth is a matter of “differentiating” these individual cognitive functions from the ‘background noise’ of the other unconscious ways of thinking and operating, thus bringing them into consciousness as we learn to notice them, ‘hear’ them, respect them, intentionally engage them, and become comfortable with them. Perhaps the most difficult challenge in differentiation is distinguishing a function-attitude from the function in the opposite attitude, because they obviously resemble each other in many ways.

As we develop our basic dominant and auxiliary type toolkit, usually at an early age, we are also developing their opposite-attitude ‘cousins’ to a lesser degree. A mushroom hunter must not only become familiar with the look of the edible mushrooms he uses, but also of the similar-looking toxic ones that he doesn’t, in order to tell them apart. Similarly, we must develop both extraverted thinking (Te) and introverted thinking (Ti), for example, up to the point where we are able to see the difference and determine which one works best for us—our natural preference. So an INTJ with auxiliary Te will also have some ability to engage her Ti sixth function. Most will have a well-developed, well differentiated auxiliary Te. But some INTJs appear to develop both Te and Ti without ever really separating the two. This may lead to a ‘muddy,’ not very effective, concurrent use of the function in both attitudes. This tandem early development of the opposite-attitude cousins or our preferred functions seems a likely source for the problem of J/P confusion. The type professional who is skilled at distinguishing each of the eight cognitive functions from its opposite-attitude counterpart brings a powerful tool to the type verification process.

But beyond that, the ‘ultimate weapon’ for type verification is an understanding of the different kinds of energies that are characteristic of each position in typology’s sequence of function-attitudes. Each of the positions carries a characteristic role and a corresponding ‘energy’ in our lives. Our dominant mental process (called the “Hero” or “Heroine” in John Beebe’s archetypal model) is characterized by an energy of default leadership. It is our go-to first approach to tackling everything that life throws at us and our area of greatest strength and pride (Beebe’s descriptive terms are italicized). The same function in the opposite attitude is fifth in our sequence of preferences, and carries a more negative, rigid and avoidant, push-back sort of energy. It feels like a part of us that believes it could do a better job of running things; an area of opposition and challenge—the “Opposing Personality.”

It is primarily by engaging our auxiliary function-attitude that we take care of others. This is the nurturing, supportive “Good Parent,” in service to the overall personality, an area of fostering and protecting. The same function in the opposite attitude is our sixth function and plays a “Critical Parent” role—hypercritical and limit-setting, it wants to control our creative and playful impulses through intimidation.

When working to verify a possible INTJ or INTP type, acquaint the individual with the characteristics of extraverted intuiting (Ne), introverted intuiting (Ni), extraverted thinking (Te), and introverted thinking (Ti). Then ask them about the emotional context when they engage these functions. Is it heroic and comfortable? –Oppositional? –Supportive? –Critical? It is usually only necessary to get a handle on one of these ‘energy signatures’ in order to tease-out the true type. And with some practice it becomes not only the most effective and reliable approach to verification, but many find it to be the easiest.


Mark & Carol The Editors

Mark & Carol The Editors

Editors Carol Shumate, Ph.D., ENFP, and Mark Hunziker, INTJ, founded Personality Type in Depth as a forum to bridge psychological type and depth psychology. Both editors are themselves writers and they work together virtually, from North Carolina and Vermont respectively. Shumate's career has been in journalism, publishing, and higher education, while Hunziker's has been primarily in organization development consulting. Shumate's current project is a book on the Trickster archetype in leadership, and Hunziker's is about depth typology, a term he has coined for the interface of the two fields.

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Comments (28)

[…] the id – Leon Tsao I dont agree completely with the video but it sure has some valid points.Question of the Day: INTJ or INTP? – Personality Type in Depth Reply With Quote […]

I also have run into this challenge as I’ve dug more and more into the functions. I consistently test as INTJ, but the type descriptions for INTP sound very, very familiar to my experience. I’ve come to chalk this up to natural, healthy individuation (I think I used the right term there?) of tertiary Fi for an INTJ producing what looks like the open mindedness of the perceiving preference in the INTP.

How have I been able to become fully confident that I am, in fact, a core INTJ? By examining the inferior function. This has become one of my go-to tools when a person seems to fall neatly between two types.

The INTJ’s grip behaviors with Se is very different from the INTP’s grip behaviors with Fe. The follow on observation to this is that the functional attitude that serves as Anima/Animus for one type, is the Trickster for the other. There is not much chance of mixing up those two experiences by the subject, nor mis-observing the behaviors by an outsider.

I am an INTx. I am pretty sure I am P, but some problems here I have run into about MBTI typing include (we’re talking about P vs. J):
“Do you like working with deadlines?” Yes. I need to to survive life.
“Do you like completing work ahead of deadlines?” This is ideal, but I would take this ability for granted, and I don’t feel as though a life full of extremely early prep would grant effective work.
“Which do you prefer?” I get stressed out from deadlines more but also have a considerable amount of productivity increase with a goal of end setting of some sort.

“Do you like working with concrete topics?” Yes.
“Do you like abstraction and metaphors?” Yes.
“What kind of topic interests you more?” Hard to say;
In abstract topics I look a lot for conclusions.
In concrete topics I find potential controversy and apply critical thinking as well as give thought for artistic representation and identify gelatin-like topic niches and Easter eggs during internalization. I guess you could say that I prefer moderation here unless my judgmental self is restless or my perception runs into something intriguing.

“What do others criticize you for?” Not being on top of my schedule, being ‘quiet’, too centered in solitude, being indecisive, being too formal during conversations.
(Mostly INTP typical)
“What do you criticize yourself for?” Inadequacy, feeling annoyed or annoying, not living efficiently and effectively, with actions that lack calculation, whatever others criticize me for, provided it makes sense, and I strongly agree with it or see an exceeding amount of logic involved in arguments.
(Mostly INTJ typical)
“What do you criticize others for?” Acting and talking irrationally, freeing anger and letting it guide conversation and confrontation. Not putting full effort into something as to mock the whole assignment entirely. Having very illogical, distorted, ignorant opinions put often in debate, which I hold as principles or obvious truths, but sometimes I’m more intolerant than that, feeling a powerful discomfort upon moderately distressing opinion-related things.
(NT, or analyst, typical)

Yes, I know not all of that was relevant.

I have run into stereotypes of INTJ’s as chess enthusiasts chess and INTP’s an affiliation with the Rubik’s cube. I find that comical as I go about this… Two years ago was ALL about chess. Last year I tried the Rubik’s cube on for size. I have an infinite number of interests (All topics save contemporary dance, no offense to dancers, as well as idyllic social skills (though culture and etiquette in a non-applicable application seem like a good topic to browse)) though some things (physics, Latin, calculus, engineering, coding and video game making, classical and ambient music composition) have ways of demanding a lot of time and energy from me. I have ten to twenty things going at once and have a sense of long term projects fairly well. However, I will generally give an intensive effort to no more than three projects per time frame ranging between one week to three months for projects. I keep a “Brain Diary” for putting refined ideas I think of in. I organize that well, but my time? Not always so well.

I think I am an INTP artifact with concrete, judgmental paint on, but inevitably J ore mixed in as well, and it depends on the situation. My philosophy is one of, “Learn first, then apply, then store it to a dream of being a man of intellectual AND objective contribution to the world. (I tell everyone my neurological self is undergoing an identity crisis).

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a middle scholar, and my philosophy is, now is the cramming week before the test, which, the test is the stereotypical teen object but I’m talking about 26, the age when my synapses close. (This analogy isn’t fitting for me, though, as I only study for tests once in a blue moon) However, I do reserve a moderate amount of time for fun (or fun that doesn’t fry my brain like an egg on the sidewalk). After the test I may choose to forget what I learned by losing the information initiative by reviewing after the test, or I can apply it and grow. Interesting enough, I theorize strongly that the INTP that runs all my thoughts and inner conversation may reverse into J as I grow up and ease into a long-term interest. Possibly.

My rationale behind calling my “temperament” INTP is that I have read articles and identified with the majority of the things said, perhaps weakened by playing down things that are more important to me.

Another reason against a diagnosis of INTP and towards INTJ is that I have tested as INTJ consistently, but I read something that suggested that to be common for INTP’s as the test is set up in ways that will highlight J parts on questions where the P reason for answering a specific choice is different, if I understood it correctly.

I didn’t lie here, though maybe some tailoring of the facts to support my thoughts on my status of ambivalence. I strive to balance these types, P and J. Because, P is better than J at thinking open-mindedly, as life requires a ton. J has an edge in action and organization, and keeps me practical enough to keep my ideas and desires from taking place in the sky due to helium filled pants as far as where ideas come from. The J can also be easier on my life so I can keep from stewing hours where I shouldn’t. The P is best employed in blocking judgments of people and getting along disregarding emotionally). Hopefully my brief notion doesn’t offend anyone whose type was explained poorly and in a bad light.

Well, thanks for finishing my novel, now you get to know why I was rambling like I was. I see myself as an interesting figure here, and I want to have input from people about this, in terms of if it is valid to call myself INTx for my personality test results, if I have to be one side or the other on the Mbti tightrope, and perhaps if anyone else identifies with me. I feel like if you are an INTx I’d appreciate opinions, if you are an ESFx I’d feel different insights would be cool, as well as with anyone in between.

Thank you for your reply. I was actually thinking about this the other day as well. And came to the same conclusion that becuase its conscious the experience is different, adding to that if the lower function is by no means differentiated and by means conflated with other functions, a direct linked between what cuases the achilles heal and the lower functions stack could be difficult to obtain as the energy will not have any direction. But from what I experiences as an INTP, before I knew about the function stacks. I always got the feeling when seeing people with high Fi such as an ENFP in the eyes as soul less, and emptiness in them. And this is often how I type Fi users and has been reliable for me and usually just take a sec. It is only when I figured out that my Fi is demonic that I could somehow explained the soul less feeling I got. But that would also mean that my Fi is somewhat directing energy at least to my inferior that gives me that soul less feeling and that perhaps should at least been my achilles heal.But no, nothing destroyes me as much as Si my third fuction than my fourth. Another explanation I got from RDondurer on youtube was that because Si is irrational and automatic, it is difficult to controll the information that is coming in, that is why the achilles hell could either be 3 or 4 depending if it is irrational or not. As rational function would somehow be controlled therefore allowing a space to digust the information and not being the achilles heel. I do not know. I am so much less knowledgeable then most her. But like I am actually being heard. And in my mind at least taken serious. 🙂

Just getting around to considering Greeneyes’ question about which function is the Achilles heel–why the inferior and the not the eighth function. Of course any function can be our downfall. But the inferior function is conscious, we are aware of it, we are aware of our inferiority in that realm, and so we experience embarrassment and so forth around it. What can happen is that the inferior function can take us down the rabbit hole to our Demonic or 8th function, which can be terribly destructive. On the other hand, the 8th can also have a miraculous quality. Maybe that is because it is unconscious and thereby sidesteps our ego’s efforts to contain everything. Don’t know. But my article Shadow Boxing with Fight Club gives an example of how this can happen.

Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this
article. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

[…] Question of the Day: INTJ or INTP? Reply With Quote […]

999grenneyes (youtube)

Hi Mark. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me such a throughly answer and definately going to take your advice. I’m going to try to join the webinar on archetypes the 30th october by Bob. Eventhough perhaps its not going exactly to answer my question directly I hope it will expand on my limited knowledge. My understanding of the function and the associated archetype have certaintly increased, but I’m still not there. But hopefully soon I can see it at work 🙂

Kevin: I’m afraid there’s no simple answer to this question; and I suspect that this is why no one has jumped-in to respond. Any succinct answer would necessarily by grossly over-simplified—likely even misleading. And since there as many variations of each general pattern as there are people of that type, the sort of example you’re asking for is actually only helpful insofar as one already has a sense of the patterns to look for. Then, you can see how the example illustrates the patterns, without mistaking elements of the example that are unique to that individual as being fundamental to the pattern itself, and therefore applicable to everyone of that type.

Although the inferior (4th) function-attitude is probably the most common “Achilles heel” that we encounter, and certainly is the most well-known and written about, ANY of our function-attitude archetypes, even the dominant “Hero,” can be perennially problematic until its related issues are resolved.

A good coach, counselor, or therapist who is well versed in this model could probably hazard answers to your questions after talking with you at some length. Or alternately, you can continue to expand your own understanding and self-examine, as you have been doing. There are books in the works, but currently not a whole lot of material publicly available on the Beebe model approach. (Besides this website and Type Resources’ site, you might try Googling ‘John Beebe’ to find more material.)

But it’s not necessary to completely intellectually understand the theory in order to foster personal development progress. Your attention, in itself, is a huge step; and ‘informed attention’ is even better. Just noticing what’s going on with oneself seems to ‘give permission’ to the unconscious to bring the inner situation into consciousness in order to move towards resolving issues and attaining a healthier psychic balance. And any level of understanding can help us to better know what to do with the unconscious material that shows up—to “integrate” it in positive ways.

To examine the specific questions you’ve raised, continue to work on becoming as familiar as you can with the nature of Si (that it tends to be a conservative mode of filtering information, preferring to stick to known, personal ‘best practices,’ for example) and with the nature of the third function’s ‘Puer’ archetype, in both its positive (e.g., playful and creative) and negative (e.g., irresponsible and unreliable) manifestations. Then ponder whether the Si mode of perception, energized by such ‘childishness,’ fits with your experience. If that’s the right fit with what you’re wrestling with, it will become apparent to you. And if it isn’t, examine other FA-archetype possibilities. But keep in mind though that the unconscious works on its own timetable, not on-demand, as our conscious ego-self expects. Patience and tenacity are the main requisites for this endeavor.

Is the third function or the fourth function the achilles heel. And if so why is not the 8 function the achilles heel considering its least known to the person? Does anyone know please answer me. Si is really what bothers me the most, it hits my nerve when someone is constant on it. Trying to understand why. Would be happy to hear some thougths.

Well, nice insight, I guess, or what should I say. I’m an INTP and my INTJ girl just finished our relationship. Apparently I didn’t have a job an so on. Hehe. She somehow think it is just getting one. She couldn’t see all the other stuff I was doing, for her and the time I spent to create something. The best relationship I ever had. We could go on for hours discussing. I miss those discussions :(. Hehe. Anyways good luck with your relationship 🙂

Just to echo the last comment, I got here by googling ‘example critical parent role 6 introverted thinking’. I am trying to better understand the archetypes, and get a more innate understanding of the differences between Te and Ti, and I find real life examples very useful.
I’ve seen the definition of Te as organizing:systematizing/structuring, and Ti as analyzing/categorizing, but that didn’t resonate with me as much as reading here that Ti can be hair-splitting.

I’m fairly new to this, but there seems to be a disproportionate amount of discussion online about differentiating between INTJ and INTP, but this article has also been helpful in clearing up why that distinction seems to be a particularily difficult one for some.

As an INTJ who lives with an INTP, it boggles me that there could be any difficulty in identifying the differences in these types. He is lazy and never takes care of basic life stuff like paying for parking tickets because he’d rather spend time picking fights about things he doesn’t even believe. I, on the other hand, am completely uptight and suck the fun out of every situation by asking boring logistical questions such as, ‘If you install a pool, who will maintain it? What will the legal liability be if we have a party? Does a pool have to be built to code? Did you realize you have to kill every tree in our small hard for this? You hate nature, exercise, and the sun, so what is the purpose?’ Logically, I should just avoid the long, boring discussion about this since he will never get around to building a pool anyway because he will tangentially veer off to correcting my grammar, and will get too distracted by clumsy attempts at self expression to build the pool. Or he’ll start considering hot tubs instead.

I apologize for taking this away from the more enjoyable scholarly tone of the previous posts. This is my first time at this site, and I look forward to (quietly) exploring more. Thank you!

We need more of this functional analysis and understanding how the shadow functions work with real life examples, as it is quit limited of this 🙂

999Grenneyes (youtube)

Thank you for your feedback, well appreciated. And excited for the June issue 🙂

Dear ‘999Grenneyes,’

I wouldn’t dare attempt to fully answer your question without a lot more information about how you experience Ne, Ti, Ni, and so forth. But I can share a few general thoughts. One possible explanation for what’s going on would be if INTP is not actually your true type, and another would be the possibility that you may be misidentifying Ne activity as Ni. But it’s also quite possible that you’ve simply developed an unusual comfort level with INTP’s ‘Critical Parent’ Ni. Developing preferred function-attitudes (FAs), such as an auxiliary Ne, involves “differentiating” that FA from its opposite-attitude sibling (Ni). So normal type development always comes with some degree of development of the shadow functions of our preferences; and perhaps circumstances led you to an unusually high discernment of your Ni.

Regarding what this ‘confusion’ means to you as a person: This is the age-old “know thyself” issue, wrapped in the framework of personality type. The better we understand who we truly are—our innate gifts, perspectives, ways of operating, challenges, blind-spots, triggers, etc.—the more effective, happy, and healthy we can be. (You’ll see some interesting articles and discussion on the effects of ‘type falsification’ in our soon-to-be-posted June issue.) So I do encourage you to continue working at sorting out this issue—ideally with the aid of an experienced type professional. But meanwhile, don’t assume that it’s a bad thing; rather take it as a special gift (albeit one that comes with special challenges) that makes you the unique individual you are. If I were in your situation, I would focus on gaining a sophisticated understanding of the ‘archetypal energies that affect the eight FAs of the preference hierarchy of type. Not only will this help you sort out your questions about your Ne and Ni, but it will also go a long way toward answering your question about ‘what does it mean for me as a person.’ A good place to start learning about these archetypes would be to go to the ‘Terms & Theory’ page of the Personality Type in Depth site, and look at the “Eight-Function Chart of Sixteen Types” and also the “Eight-Function Model” entry. Under the latter are listed several articles that contain lots of information about the nature of the archetypes.

If you would like to continue this conversation, I suggest we do so more privately; and you are welcome to respond via my personal email:


999Grenneyes (youtube)

Hi, Mark Hunziker, I would like to thank you so much for your brilliant book and sharing your knowledge with us. I’m referring to “building blocks of personality types”. I was so happy reading it.

Anyways I have a question. I’m pretty sure that my best fit type is INTP, my problem is I know that I’m using Ni a lot. And specially in theory building, I use it along with my Ti and Ne. And Ni feels like a knowledge has been givin to me. I get really excited when that happens. But also tiring becuase, as is its like stream of consciousness, images streaming into my head. And I feel the pressure to share it, but by then my Ne and Ti is interigating my Ni insigth and images. Til I have understood it and my excitment seems to vanish.

My problem is that I truly believe that I experience Ni, and usually explain Ni better then dominant Ni user becuase my Ti allows me too. My problem is what does that mean to me as a person why is my Ni behaving like that. Would be appreciate some feedback.

[…] -10j Auxiliary subsidiary 20%Te J -20i 20t 20j Check: algebraic sum – – 60i 60n 60t 20j [/QUOTE] Question of the Day: INTJ or INTP? So, what do you think of the article? Reply With Quote […]


Einstein was an INTP.

Mark, your able way of proving me inacurate totally makes my point. As someone able to defeat my reasoning, that definitely proves that you. as a model INTJ, are brilliant, just like I said. 🙂 Jack

Jacks description of INTJs being ‘most often cast as brainy folks’ like Einstein got me thinking. I too believe that INTJs are more often labeled as ‘intelligent’ than other types. Though as an INTJ myself, I love this kind of flattery as much as anyone; I also view it as an incorrect and unfortunate bias –a carry-over from the ‘IQ’ concept of intelligence that can undermine the more sophisticated ‘gifts differing’ view. Most people view me as very intelligent. And if some things I say strike people as ‘brilliant,’ then I’m inclined to believe that sometimes I must, indeed, be brilliant. But I’m also quite aware that in many ways, such as remembering where I put things or noticing what’s right in front of me, I am also a certifiable idiot. These tendencies fit with the ‘absent-minded professor’ stereotype (which is tolerated and lightly dismissed because it’s presumed that she’s busy thinking brilliant thoughts). But I’ve always been curious about why this particular set of gifts and deficits is ranked as higher ‘intelligence’ than, for example a brilliant auto mechanic or building contractor who maybe couldn’t anticipate the consequences of her actions 24 hours into the future if her life depended on it.

It’s obvious to most type users that we’re simply dealing with how people can be so differently intelligent. So why is the INTJ particular kind of intelligence so often viewed as higher intelligence than the others? Why don’t we evaluate the great auto mechanic similarly?

I think the explanation probably starts with the nature of introverted intuition. Ni is often so ’out there’ than other types can’t even relate to ‘how they got there.’ This introduces a ‘wow’ factor. Sensing, by contrast, is a function that we’re all forced to develop at least a bit. We engage extraverted sensing to enable us to drive down the road with crashing into things and introverted sensing to find our way back home. (Please forgive the gross over-simplification.) So even if we’re not very skilled users of sensing, there’s less ‘wow’ around brilliant sensing because we can at least relate to how they got there.

The extraverted mode of intuiting is often done in public. Ne may generate 20 possibilities in a brainstorming session; and though one may turn out to be ‘brilliant,’ other options may not work so well; so this transparency of the whole process undermines the ‘wow’ effect. Ni insights, on the other hand, are usually honed internally and only made public as ‘finished product.’

INFJs’ ‘knowing’ can be as visionary as INTJs’; but usually lack the logical explanations that INTJs’ auxiliary can lend. So INFJs’ brand of intelligence is often either dismissed; or even when appreciated, usually seen as belonging to the realm of ‘mysticism’ –i.e., a different, separate kind of gift from what we usually think of as intelligence. INTJs are generally able to explain their insights to others, through their Te auxiliary, in ways that can be understood. Others may not buy into or even be able to follow these explanations –especially at first. But it at least ‘sounds intelligent.’

Many outside-the-box thinkers such as Jung and Steve Jobs, are dismissed at first –then, when the rest of us have caught up enough to understand or at least appreciate, they are reevaluated and we call them geniuses. I think this is typical of most notable INTJ thinkers. But are Rembrandt, Dali, Mozart, Lao-tzu, Shakespeare, or Siddhartha Gautama any less intelligent? Obviously not –just differently so. It seems to me that the ‘IQ’ notion of intelligence that we all carry is simply an INTJ notion of intelligence, and that it is of marginal use at best; and may well cause more confusion and harm than it’s worth.

Erratum in my other post “INTJ’s are most often brainy folks.” INTP’s are often brainy folks. It’s just that INTJ’s are most often cast in that mode.

(Plse forgive the mispellings in this post. It doesn’t have spell check.)

This is a very interesting article and a great discussion. Once again, this issue is a huge success for Personality Type in Depth.

I would have to say that as a business consultant who uses the 16 types for organizational design and team building,if a person can’t spot the differences between an INTP and an INTJ, the person would also have problems with telling a giraffe from a ground squirrel. INTP’s are most often brainy folks who are mathmeticians, professors, actuarialists,and theoreticians. They live for the big picture. They inhabit laboratories and rseach centers. I would disagree that they are action prone people. They are often so insightful that others follow up on their theories, as in the case of Einstein, who could have very well been an INTJ. Their strategic threat is being so high in the stratisfere they never come down.

INTP’s on the other hand do not see the big picture because their passion is in the details. I have known more INTP’s in the personality type community than any other type, and they love to break type, preferences, attitudes, into every increasingly small pieces that they can endlessly discuss in forums like this. They love to study people from under the microscope, because that’s how they know them best.

INTP’s are often drawn to journalism and social science investigation because whole systems are made to the taken apart, to be evaluated, and yes, to find the fatal flaw. INTP’s are often a part of my classes–they can be great computer programmers and other things that requree focus on the miniscule. If there is one type that raises a hand at the beginning of the class and declares everything we’re going to say about applying type to business as useless voodoo, it will most often to an INTP. Yet, the INTP is often incredibly valuable because they won’t let you run off the cliff. INTP’s detail folks, INTJ, the view from way up high.


Thanks Doug, for your offer to apply your approach to my MBTI scores to see how they ‘unpack.’ I will take you up on the offer (off-line), since seeing how it applies to the person who’s type dynamics I’m most familiar with (me) should help me better understand the implications of your findings.

Douglass J. Wilde
Stanford University

Quantitative analysis [9] of the MBTI® scores shows that the answer to the question “Is it INTJ or INTP?” is — BOTH! This is because when the J/P score is less than the I score, as seems to be assumed in this discussion, the type is “doubly-introverted”, as proven rigorously in pp. 67-9 of Wilde, D. J. (2011) “Jung’s personality theory quantified”, Springer, London, subsequently referred to as “JPTQ”. Consequently it has dominant and auxiliary attitudes that are BOTH introverted. The “doubleversion” phenomenon has been noted previously by (June) Singer and Loomis, Spoto, and Geldart.
For INTj, (here the “j” is lower case to emphasize its smallness) introverted (not extraverted) thinking Ti is thus in the second “good parent” position rather than in the sixth “critical parent” position where Te truly resides. So Ti is not “hijacking” Te; the confusion comes from using conventional “type dynamics” (TD) theory instead analyzing quantitatively.
Disturbingly for MBTI® practitioners, quantitative theory contradicts TD’s “attitude balance” rule that the auxiliary attitude must differ from that of the dominant, which for INTj would have extraverted thinking Te auxiliary to contrast with the dominant Ni. It happens however that Te is in this case a third “subsidiary” function-attitude (hereafter called “(cognitive) mode” to avoid confusion with the previously defined words “function” and “attitude”). The two subsidiary modes, which complete the quartet formulated by Jung, are overlooked by TD’s consideration of only the dominant and auxiliary modes. For INTj, the second subsidiary mode Ne will usually have a negligible “slight” score less than 20% (6 out of MBTI®’s possible 30).
Mark, your discussion makes you sound like a double-introvert. Send me your MBTI® scores and I’ll unpack them to obtain your mode scores. You’re in for another surprise if your T score exceeds your N score, contradicting another unreliable TD assumption.
If you would like a feel of the arithmetic before tackling the rigorous JPTQ book, here is a “packing table” showing the cognitive mode scores for a set of INTj scores reasonably describing the situation at hand. The questionnaire scores 60%I, 60%N, 60%T, 20%j “unpack” into the mode scores 50%Ni, 40%Ti, 20%Te, 10%Ne. Each row gives the score points generated for each questionnaire variable by the row’s mode. The column sums then match the questionnaire scores, PROVING the correctness of the transformation of questionnaire scores into mode scores.
The mode scores show why the personality description for INTj should involve both INTJ and INTP type table descriptions. The INTJ description combines those for the Ni and Te mode descriptions; INTP, for Ti and Ne. A crude way of understanding the distribution of emphasis is given by averaging the questionnaire scores to obtain 50% for INTJ and 40% for INTP – almost equal. Thus INTj can be seen as “bi-typal”, to coin an uncomfortable new word.
To keep this note from being too upsettingly long, discussion of the subsidiary modes, which seem to drift into the shadow, will be withheld until you ask for it.

Mode Mode P-mode 60%I 60%N 60%T 20%J
identification scores or J-mode?
Dominant 50%Ni J 50i 50n 50j
Auxiliary 40%Ti P 40i 40t -40j
Dominant subsidiary 10%Ne P -10i 10n -10j
Auxiliary subsidiary 20%Te J -20i 20t 20j
Check: algebraic sum – – 60i 60n 60t 20j

I recently did several type clarification actions with NTJs and some NTPs, and during the investigation to help them find J/P, I ask them to explore how/when they use Introversion and Extraversion.
I’ve noticed that NTPs tend to need other people to get ideas; when they are alone, idea generation is more difficult. However they use Introvert time for filter/sort/select/analyse idead.
For NTJs, it is the reverse, they get most of their ideas while walking, jogging, when they are on thei rown, and they need people to discuss selection/sorting/ organization of the solutions issued from their ideas.

One thing I’ve repeatedly noticed that is different between me, the INTJ, and my INTP friends is my commitment to putting ideas into action. I can theorize all day long with an INTP, but eventually I end up saying “OK so how do we turn this into a project and get it going.” I start strategizing. But often the INTP doesn’t really want to stop theorizing and go into action and just changes the subject to continue discussing. This can get frustrating for the INTJ. But this might be one little tip to use when trying to decide which one someone is.

wow. Thanks for this great 8-function/archetype unpacking of this. I always learn so much from this kind of discussion.

As for pragmatically working with an INTJ/INTP client to determine the “J/P”, I go at it from an 8-function perspective, not from “J” or “P” as such. TJ indicates extraverted thinking (Te), and TP indicates introverted thinking (Ti), so I go at it from that direction. With my clients, when I describe Ti as working with a “model in the head” and discuss that when something comes in it is always evaluated against that model, the client who prefers Ti gets a slow smile on his/her face. They feel “seen” for who and how they are when I describe it. The “model in the head” really resonates with them.

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